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Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Christmas isn't just for kids

I was moaning on Christmas Eve about the TV showing utter crap nowadays on Christmas.

When I was a kid, we always used to watch Mary Poppins, ET, Star Wars, Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz.

But this year; the telly has come through. We didn't get it all on Christmas Day, but ET was on yesterday and I am watching Mary Poppins right now!

Hey, I'm not the only one!

My friend Ashley is 'fed up with waiting for his phone to arrive, but it's ok because Mary Poppins is on'. My friend Elle is also happy it's on and Stephen Fry is in heaven!

Well, she is Practically Perfect In Every Way :0)

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

It's now 5.20pm and - for most of you - the fun is all over!

The food consumed, the presents opened and all the shouting done LOL

Well, we've done all of that except for the food! Every year we plan meticulously for Christmas dinner, so we can eat at a halfway decent time and every year we starve all day long while the damn food refuses to cook at a decent rate.

Tonight we'll be eating about 8pm!

So, what did you get for Christmas? I got a toolkit from Mel, a little heart pendant from Mason and lots of chocolate from the kids!

But you lot, my online friends, you totally surprised me!

I tend to go through life very hard on myself. I know I can make people laugh, but I'm also incredibly pushy and I know I make people uncomfortable - especially when I lose my temper! I chat to quite a few people, but I often get it into my head that if I disappeared; I wouldn't really be missed on here...

Claire started it, I received 2 e-mails on the 23rd telling me that Claire had bought me Through The Woods pattern (Ravelry link) and Flying Cables pattern! Then Helen got in on it and bought me the Chandelier Fingerless Gloves pattern (Ravelry link) and a Damselfly Shawl pattern (Ravelry link)! Next thing I knew; Diane bought me Sweet Tees pattern! Then Elle bought me Athena pattern (Ravelry link) for my 'A' socks on 1st Jan! Rita also got in on it with the Owlsocks pattern (Ravelry link)! Then Kristina bought me this gorgeous pattern (Ravelry link) called Serenity which I'm very excited about as it's knit with two strands of KSH so will be a gorgeous warm sweater!

Eight presents! Some of them from people that I haven't met yet! I am so totally blown away by the generosity of my online friends.

Thank you so much!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

I challenge you!

Over the past couple of years I've heard about the sock challenge.

The idea is that you guess how many socks you can knit in a year then go for it. You can do 52 socks in 52 weeks, 26 socks in 52 weeks, 12 socks in 12 months, whatever combination suits you.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee - otherwise known as the Yarn Harlot - came up with a fab idea at the beginning of 2010. She decided to go for the 12 socks in 12 months idea and she made up 12 sock kits.

She explains here, but basically she got 12 bags and in each bag she put a skein of yarn, a pattern and needles. All she had to do was grab a bag to get started on each one.

I don't know why, but sock challenge on Ravelry starts in June - personally I think that's odd; if you're going to do something over a year, then start at the beginning of the year!

So on the 1st January, I am going to start my sock challenge. I'm initially going to go for the 12 in 12. I could do the 52 in 52 - I have knit a pair of socks in a week before now - but I wouldn't get any time to knit anything else or to do any spinning and I'm not going without spinning for a whole year!

I shall keep you updated on the blog, a few people on facebook have already said they'll join me.

As I was writing this post, Elle posted that the UK sock knitters group on Ravelry had planned an alphabet sock knit.

These are the rules:

  • Every two weeks a new sock would be cast on to relate to the current letter, which would be the first letter of the pattern title.
  • There would be no obligation to fulfil the whole years worth of A-Z, however there may be plans to have prizes for the people who knit the most socks
  • Each letter will have a two week cast on period, you would have to post during that week to say you have cast on and which pattern. The only finishing date would be the end of the year.
  • No baby socks, only socks for two year olds and above, with a leg of 3 inches will be eligible (it would be too easy to whip out a pair of baby socks every two weeks after all!). The idea is to challenge yourself :)
  • Have fun!
I think this sounds like great fun! So I've joined!

This will actually give me a bit of leeway as we're planning a 3 week holiday to Italy at Easter and I know from visiting Norway and Wales that I just won't get a lot of knitting time!

The weather strikes again

After missing out on the tennis at the beginning of the month, I got myself into the mindset that if it was going to snow then so be it. I had ordered my shopping and I could just hole up here where it's warm and dry and look out the window and marvel how pretty it is!

On Sunday evening I was on my way home after taking Isis the Fluffy Puppy out for her daily walk - we have walked daily for over a month now! - we'd gone out on our own and were quite confident that we would be alright.

I was just coming down a small slope past the Co-op at the end of my village and I stood on a patch of ice.

I didn't even see it!

I fell - hard! I landed (narrowly avoiding Isis who looked completely baffled to find me suddenly on the floor beside her!) right on my backside with my left palm flat on the floor next to me.

After a minute or two, I managed to get back on my feet and head towards my house. I was so stunned and had scared myself so much I could barely move - a walk that usually takes a minute, took me 15 minutes.

By the time I got home, I was having a mild panic attack and shaking like a leaf. My left arm was alternating between agony and numbness, I had pins and needles in my left hand and couldn't make a fist, I had knots of pain on the inside of both thighs, my back was in spasm and my favourite jeans had split under the strain.

Alex rushed to make me tea and I took one of my whammy pills to help ease the spams and calm me down. I spent the rest of the evening hobbling around with my stick (which I haven't used it months!)

By the time I went to bed, several hours later, I had regained some use in my left arm and the pins and needles were easing.

I felt like I had been beaten when I woke, but I was able to move and the tingling in my hand had gone. I was ok providing I moved carefully.

Then I walked Kaz home after knit night. I do this every Monday. She comes to mine, rides with me there and back, then I walk her back to Sandown - that way I can still do my daily walk but not be too tired to go out!

I was doing fine, all the way to Kaz's house - we chatted about shopping, Christmas and tattoo ideas. I walked her to her door and kept going back towards town to come home.

By the time I reached the town centre, I knew I was in trouble. The pain in my left shoulder was intense! I also had pain in my back, all down my left arm and in the back of my right knee (that was new - I guess it must've happened as my right leg slipped out from underneath me). I couldn't walk very fast and basically shuffled along.

A walk that should've taken me half an hour tops, took approximately an hour and ten minutes!

I feel worse today than yesterday, my left shoulder is absolutely agony and clicks if I move it in a certain way (I'm pretty sure that's normal for an Ehlers Danlos sufferer like myself - I just hope it doesn't dislocate), my forearms ache, my back aches, my neck aches and I'm still fighting the flu I've had for three weeks too!

I've got a billion and one things to do, 3 fruit cakes, 2 almond slices and 2 chocolate cakes (at least) to bake and I feel like one huge bruise.

I've had enough of winter now :(

Doctor Kyle

A year or so ago, I don't remember now, I offered to make Kyle a Doctor Who scarf. We decided to the Season 18 scarf, but we couldn't find the correct colours, so Kyle chose black, red and a sort of mustard colour.

I got knitting and I must've got about halfway through it before the garter stitch drove me absol
utely batty with boredom and I put it away.

Kyle didn't say anything at the time as it was summer, but as Christmas approached and it got colder he voiced concerns to my mum that I wasn't going to get it finished. She nagged me and I got to work.

I forced myself to put down my current shawl, put my spinning wheel away, ignore my spindles and knit mindless garter stitch.

It w
ent on and on and on and on and...well, you get the idea!

But, last week, I finished!

This thing is humongous! As you can see it stretches across the room and then some (the pic with Alex was taken while I was still knitting it!)

I've wrapped it and put it under the tree. I can't wait for Kyle to open it and model it on Christmas Day!

Monday, 6 December 2010

eBay - it goes on and on

After the suspension of my account, I received this email from them:

Hello Sam,

Thank you for your reply to our email regarding the suspension of your
account "puddytatpurr75". I unDerstand that you'd like to know more
information about the suspension for High Risk and I appreciate the
chance to explain this for you.

Sam, I've personally checked your account and I can see it was suspended
due to several discrepancies in your registration information. We
reserve the right to suspend a member's account and ask for further
information if we have cause for concern.

Please understand we're not accusing you of fraudulent behaviour. Our
top priority is to ensure that eBay remains a safe and reputable place
to buy and sell, so we'd like to confirm some of the information you've
given us.

Kindly provide us with the following documents so we can review your
account, here are the following:

- Proof of the name and address you have on file with us

Please send us copies of both:

1. government-issued photo ID (your passport or driving licence)
2. evidence of your address (a bank statement or utility bill)

You can use our free document upload service, or send the documents
requested to us via fax or post. You'll find all the information on this
page - open a new window on your browser window and copy this link into

Please ensure that all your personal details match the information
you've registered on your account. Rest assured that eBay treats your
personal information with the utmost care and destroy it once reviewed.

What happens next?

Your account will remain suspended until we receive and review these
documents. Please bear in mind that while your account is suspended,
you're not allowed to use eBay in any way. This includes registering a
new account or using someone else's. If you do, you could be suspended

I trust this information is helpful and that I've explained things
clearly. We look forward to receiving your documents.

Kind regards,

Kate Pearse
eBay Trust & Safety

Well, I was doubtful that my registration details - which haven't changed so much as a comma since I joined eBay 8 years ago - were dodgy, so I photocopied the appropriate documents and followed the link to the document uploader.

That announced that I couldn't send my documents that way and my printer decided to refuse to fax, so I sent them by post!

Meanwhile, Mel had returned the item, seller refused it and it got returned to her and he didn't refund her money. She opened a case with eBay, he spent most of that time bitching about ME, and eBay saw in her favour!

I then noticed that my account went from being suspended to being unregistered and that the feedback which had caused all this trouble had been removed from his account!

Finally I received this:


Thanks for sending us the documents we requested. I'm happy to assist
you in resolving the suspension on your account "puddytatpurr75".

I've reviewed the documents you sent and I'm pleased to let you know
that your account has been reinstated following your temporary
suspension. You're now free to use your account to buy and sell on eBay.

Thank you for complying with our rules for account reinstatement. We
hope your future experiences on eBay are pleasant and successful.

Kind regards,

Martin Singleton
eBay Trust & Safety

I waited a day or so, but the feedback didnt reappear! I was fuming by this point that this guy had behaved in this manner so I didn't let it go!

So I sent them another email!

I did report this before, but then eBay suspended my account
and I've only just got it reinstated (with no explanation or apology!)
The feedback I left for this seller has been removed - why? I left
honest feedback - on eBay's advice, he sent me a defective item &
demanded positive or neutral feedback before a refund. When I left
negative after receiving my refund, I received the email asking me to
change my feedback (only because I refused to answer the phone!) This
seller was reported to you by babycham77 too as he then sent the item to
her and refused to accept the return or give a refund while accusing me
of theft in the process! I have got my refund (although he has now
opened a paypal dispute to claim back £9 postage he paid me 'in good
faith' to return the item), but I don't understand why this man is still
trading when you have received two reports about misconduct and yet my
account was suspended (supposedly for discrepancies in registration
details that haven't changed since I opened the account!) The treatment
I have received from eBay over this one transaction has been

Today I received this:

Hello Sam,

Thanks for your email about your feedback concern with "moons-cave". I
understand that you'd like to know why the feedback you left for your
trading partner so allow me to assess the situation and explain what

In your case, you ceased to be a registered eBay user shortly after you
left you Feedback. We therefore removed the Feedback.

If Feedback is removed, both the Feedback comment and the rating are
gone from your Feedback profile, and the rating no longer counts towards
to the Feedback score. Any Detailed Seller Ratings left by you are also
withdrawn - they no longer contribute to the average scores.

As for your suspension, we know from experience that certain items and
actions are more associated with fraudulent activity on eBay than
others. We reserve the right to suspend a member's account and ask for
further information if we have cause for concern.

It's our policy never to share exactly what gave us reason to suspend an
account as this could tell a fraudulent member how to avoid suspension
in the future.

Now, as for your complaint about you seller, I understand your concern
that they are still selling on eBay.

Let me assure you that we've looked into your complaint and taken the
action that was required. Due to privacy laws I can't share details
about this seller's account specifically, but the actions we can take
against poor-performing sellers include:

- Warning the seller
- Ending their listings
- Taking away their Top Rated Seller status
- Placing selling limits on an account to reduce the amount of items a
seller can list/sell
- Temporarily holding funds for PayPal transactions when the seller has
a high level of buyer dissatisfaction
- Restricting them from buying and/or selling
- Temporary or permanent suspension from eBay

If you can?t see what action was taken this doesn?t mean that we haven?t
taken any. Bear in mind that most of these actions can?t be seen by
other members.

We look at a number of things when deciding to take action, such as
their Feedback history and Detailed Seller Ratings, their trading
history on eBay and any complaints against them from other buyers. This
is why it's important to leave accurate, transaction-based feedback for
every seller.

I do apologise for the inconvenience this may caused, but I trust that
I've explained our position clearly. If you have any further questions,
please don't hesitate to contact us again.

Kind regards,

Ryan Davidson
eBay Trust & Safety

I have replied with:

Thank you for your reply.

I 'ceased to be registered with ebay' through no fault of my own! I did not close my account, it was suspended and then closed by eBay supposedly because there was a discrepancy with my registration details. Although your comment "we know from experience that certain items and actions are more associated with fraudulent activity on eBay than others. " confirms that that was not the real reason my account was suspended!

Unfortunately I cannot follow the advice: "This is why it's important to leave accurate, transaction-based feedback for every seller." because you have removed it, so there is no way of warning future customers that this man is a thief and a liar! I have PROOF that he is guilty of feedback extortion - which you claim is highly frowned upon - but nothing is done! What's the point of leaving feedback if he can make accusations against me which get my account suspended, yet nothing is done with hard evidence?

This man has now put in a claim with paypal accusing me of not returning the item in question - agaIn I have proof that I am in the right here. I just hope paypal make a better decision than eBay!

I shall think VERY carefully before I use your website again because you obviously fall on the side of the people you make the most money from and not against honest people who have traded with no problems, queries or negative feedback for many years!

Oh yes, he's put in a claim with paypal now for the £9 postage claiming that he never received the item.

Good thing I sent it Recorded Signed For!

I am livid with eBay and I shall be very very careful before buying from them again!

Please please take note! This seller is moons-cave, he is a thief, liar and swindler DO NOT BUY FROM HIM!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 3 December 2010

Shall we talk about the weather?

Why not? Everyone else is!

See this? Click on it and make it bigger - I'll wait!

Those, my friends, are tickets to watch the Aegon tennis at the Royal Albert Hall and the ferry tickets to get me off this rock.

Go and click again and check the date, I'll wait again.

Yeah, it is now 1.12pm on 3rd December and I'm at home writing this blog post.


Let me show you!

Yeah, that's why!

£144 wasted!

To top it all off; I woke with a bloody migraine too!

My friend Claire is at the hall RIGHT NOW and I hope she really enjoys it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Not where I should be!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Soft and Snuggly

Despite the sore elbows, I have managed to finish another shawl!

I used the gorgeous alpaca/merino that I spun during the Tour de Fleece this year. I was planning on using all 3 skeins, but my guage was off and I only used 2.

This is probably a good thing as it blocked out to just over 60 inches and I don't know how/where I would block something any bigger!

I love this shawl! It's so warm and snuggly. I'm definitely going to buy more of the fibre and make more shawls with it!

Pattern: Fir Cone Square Shawl from Folk Shawls
Yarn Used: Handspun Merino/Alpaca
Time: 16-10-10 - 19-11-10

Monday, 15 November 2010

The eBay saga continues

When I wake in the morning, I usually check my iPhone for email.

There was one from eBay, so I opened it hoping it would tell me that moons-cave has been kicked off eBay.

What I got was:

Your account has been suspended for the following reason: High Risk Buying violation! During the period of suspension, you can't use eBay or in any way, including registering a new account or using an additional existing account. If you owe any fees, they will be charged to the billing method you have on file. We need you to take action. For more information about why your account may have been suspended and what steps to take now, please go to: Thank you for your cooperation.

MY account has been suspended!

I clicked the link and it took me to eBay's support page *snorts*, I got the merrygoround of crap again. Eventually a 'Call Us' button appeared, so I did.

"Press 1 for accounts" so I did
"If your account has been suspended; press 6" so I did.

Then I sat on hold for ten minutes! While on hold I investigated a bit, the feedback I'd left for moons-cave had been removed and he was still trading! I was absolutely gobsmacked!

Eventually, I got some foreign woman who then told me "we have a specialist department for suspended accounts"

"Erm, yes 'press 6'?"

"No you have to reply to the email you've received", she said. I said "but that's going to take DAYS!"

I asked if she could just tell me WHY the account has been suspended. She said no, you have to reply to the email. So I asked why option 6 was even there and that I was not impressed to be on hold for 11 minutes to be told to send an email.

Then I hung up.

Here is the email I sent (it rambles a bit - I was very pissed off!

I have received this email and I'm replying to it because I got absolutely no help from the people on the phone! I don't know what you mean by high risk buying violation, so how can I respond appropriately? Quite frankly I'm furious to receive this email and have my account suspended after being a victim of feedback violation, then I find out that the seller is still selling and my feedback has been removed! How can I possibly respond to 'high risk buying violation' as a reason for the account suspension? Please reinstate my account so that I can finish the transactions I currently have in progress. The amount of hassle I've had with eBay is making me seriously reconsider my account with you. I would also like to know why there is a choice 'account suspension' on the phone system when the CSR then tells you they can't give that info over the phone? I've just wasted 11 minutes on hold (at my cost) for nothing and I doubt you're going to refund the cost of the phone call!!! There is nothing in the email telling me what to do regarding the email you've sent me.

It was all paragraphed and stuff, but they don't like paragraphs obviously!

I am absolutely furious at eBay! I hope that the items I've won over the last few days have been posted to me and that eBay haven't sent out emails to everyone stating I'm no longer registered. I'll be furious if they've screwed anything up for me!

Yes, I know I've said 'furious' a lot, but I try not to swear too much on my blog (dunno why, I could turn a troopers ears blue IRL!)!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 12 November 2010

But I don't PLAY golf!

I've been experiencing pain in both elbows for a while now. I first noticed it on a trip away from home, while driving. My elbows hurt unless I was resting them on something.

The pain has gotten more intense over the past year or so - driving around Norway was hard!

It all came to a head a few nights ago wen I jarred the elbow getting in bed curling up in my nest on the floor - I felt unite nauseous!

I called doctors office this afternoon and managed to get a spot two hours later!

Well, after the obligatory poking and prodding, he asked me what I've been doing because he knows I don't play golf!

Yep! I have golfers elbow! In both elbows!!!

It's quite bad because I've let it go on so long. I have to treat it with heat pads/hot water bottles, anti-inflammatories and painkillers!

Then my world came crashing down around me - I was told I have to ease up on my crafting!!!!!

I'm only allowed to do a small amount of knitting, wheel spinning and spindle spinning each day.


Then many people have 'extreme knitting' written in their medical notes?!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Why I rarely use eBay anymore

Do you remember several years ago when eBay used to be an auction site you could buy stuff cheaper on? You know, before everyone started selling brand new stuff on?

I used eBay a lot then. I've bought a gazillion many many books, new kitchen crockery, utensils, storage jars, stuff for my home, second hand DVDs, etc

Just before I went to Wales; I purchased a wireless speaker dock for my iPod. This thing is great, you plug your iPod in and the speakers disconnect from the dock so you can carry them around the house with you! It looked amazing and was a good offer, so I bought one!

I bought one even though I was slightly sceptical because the seller declared it as compatible with all versions of iPod and iPhone and I know that very few electronic items work with the iPhone 4. But, I wanted it for my iPod Touch anyway, so wasn't worried.

It arrived four days before I was due to leave for Wales. I plugged it straight in and plugged in the speakers and my iPod Touch. I had to wiggle the speakers slightly before the charging light came on, but put that down to user error.

After a few hours I went back and turned everything on. There was a lot of hissing and interference through the speakers and my iPod wasn't playing via the speakers.

I investigated the manufacturers website and could find no explanation. Then I noticed that my iPod wasn't charging on the dock either.

I disconnected and reconnected it all a few times to no avail. So I contacted the seller, I informed him that not only was the item incompatible with the iPhone, but it was faulty as well!

He sent me a link on how to 'sync your phone' to the dock. What the video actually showed was the iPhone being put into airplane mode - this essentially turns an iPhone into an iPod - I mailed him straight back stating that this wouldn't work as the dock wasn't connecting to the device in the first place and the devices weren't registering the dock at all.

I then requested his address so I could return the item and stated that I would be leaving on holiday within 48 hours.

It was Saturday morning (the day we left for Wales) before he sent it! I was really angry by this point and decided this guy was obviously trying to screw me in some way - so I sent it recorded delivery!

He received the item back on the 3rd and it was several days before he contacted me to say he was awaiting delivery of an 'iPod phone' so that he could test one before sending it out.

That same day, I went to visit Mel and guess what she had sitting in her kitchen? Yeah, the speaker dock I had returned!!!!

I told her what had happened with me, confirmed that it seemed to be the same one I had returned then we emailed the seller stating what we knew and that we both wanted a full refund.

Two days ago he tried to call me, my phone was on silent as I was watching movies with Alex and I didn't see it ring. He called me again yesterday - he got my details from eBay

He demanded that I left positive feedback BEFORE he refunded my money. I told him that that's not how it worked and informed him he was breaching eBay policy (which he denied). Eventually I said I would leave neutral feedback and he agreed to refund all my money (including the £8.96 it cost me to return it to him).

I waited until he had sent me the money, informed Mel what had happened then reported him to eBay. Oh, I left negative feedback too!!!!

Today I went to visit Mel again. While there, my phone rang, it was his number and I declined the call. He tried once more and I declined it again.

After getting home, Mel called me in an absolute rage. This dick head seller had called her this evening and told her that if I didn't change or retract my feedback; he would refuse her parcel and he wouldn't refund any of her money!

We have both now informed eBay of this. Mel has opened a dispute and after receiving the following email from him, I have reported him (for the second time) for feedback extortion.

''We regret to see you have left negative feedback even though you gave your word to leave neutral. We request that the feedback is removed to either positive or neutral. As a consequence if this is not done we will chargeback the payment sent (in the next three working days), as this payment was made on agreement which has been breached. We will also take further action which you will hear about.'

Nice, huh?

I'm furious that anyone I have done business with can just get my phone number without my permission and that eBay has gone from being a cool place to buy stuff cheaply to a cutthroat company.

One company that I won't be doing business with again!

Oh and the seller? His eBay ID is moons-cave!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Wanna buy a Mac Mini?

Yeah, I'm still using the iPad and I'm still loving it!

I disabled the auto lock yesterday and left it on with TwitBird running - which I would do with a laptop/desktop and it lasted all afternoon and most of the evening before the battery died.

I was quite impressed!

My only bugbear is that the twitter apps just don't do it for me! I use TweetDeck on my Mac and I used it on my Windows PC before that. The interface on the iPad is nice, but it has no Facebook integration and doesn't make a sound when new tweets come in! There's also no way to change the refresh rate which seems stupidly long on all Apple mobile devices!

It also pisses me off that the TweetDeck team don't answer customer queries! There's a forum on their site so you cam request new features, but they're basically ignoring all the requests and questions on there! Incredibly shitty customer service!

So! After much consideration; I am going to sell my Mac! I've got two people already interested, but if neither of those pan out and you may be interested, let me know and we'll chat about it!

I'm pretty sure I have boxes for it all (although I'm not sure about the monitor!)

All the info is below.

Apple Mac Mini
2.0Ghz Intel Core-2 Duo
2GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x1GB
120GB Serial ATA Drive
iWork '09 Preinstalled
Country kit-GBR
Comes with iWork 09 and Snow Leopard on disc
Dispatched to me 2 Sep 2009

Price - £593

Standard Apple keyboard
Price - £39
Purchased approx Sep 2009

Apple Wireless Magic Trackpad
Price £59
Purchased - 20 Sep 2010

Hanns•G HW191A monitor
Price - £119
Purchased September 2009

All cables to connect it all up are included

Total price £810 new. I'm asking £600 ono! All items (except for the Trackpad which is new) are in as new condition and just over a year old!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Saturday and Sunday

When we woke, there were people everywhere!

We drove into the village to discover that there was a 'round Snowdon marathon' going on :(  The village was heaving and we couldn't find anywhere to park so we gave up and headed south again to Aberporth so I could visit Kristina.

We camped on her drive overnight and had a good gossip.  Her hubby, David, cooked us breakfast on Sunday morning.

Then we left to visit Kerry's sister, Sam, to collect the new additions to our family!

Aren't they gorgeous?  They don't have names yet, although I'm seriously considering calling one Daffyd as it's such a Welsh name and they came from Wales.  Alex wants to call the other Albert(?).


We've done quite a bit of driving about over the past couple of days. We spent last night in this quiet little car park and after a morning walk we headed for Portmeirion.

It cost us a total of £18.50 to get in and I'll be honest; I don't think it was worth it! It was cute enough,but it was just cafés, ice cream parlours and shops selling Portmeirion crockery! I wasn't impressed that Isis wasn't allowed in the village either!

I did pick up this gorgeous bag though! I wish now I'd bought the apron too though!

Tonight we're in a carpark at the base of Snowdon and tomorrow, we're going up the mountain in a steam train!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


We survived the night, it rained most of the night and was so windy; the van rocked loads, it was like being travel sick!

It finally calmed around 4am and I managed to get to sleep properly.

When we all got up; we did a bit of exploring and found what appeared to be an old slate mine! There were shafts, crumbling buildings and a tunnel collapsed on what looked like a mine cart. I must do some research about that place!

We drove about a bit, we were going to stop at a campsite tonight, but eventually decided not to bother.

We found one gorgeous picnic place which was surrounded by trees and was very quiet - would've been perfect for camping! There was a very steep hill next to it, so we climbed it.

This was at the top!

We're currently in a lay-by on a little road next to a river in the Elan Valley.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Elan Valley

Monday and Tuesday

We woke to a stupendous 360° view on Monday morning, so we took a little walk after breakfast. It was a gorgeous day and I could've quite happily just sat there and stared at the surrounding view all day.

But we moved on and headed towards Brecon Beacons Visitors Park. We had a lovely walk there and after lunch moved on.

We spent Monday night camped in a lay-by in the Cambrian Mountains listening to army vehicles driving around and bangs as they practised their night manouvres.

Tuesday we woke to rain.....and fog so we decided to go grocery shopping. We went for a nice drive in a circuitous route (this gives us the opportunity to charge the vans leisure battery and all the devices we have with us)

We shopped in a Tesco then pulled into a nature reserve to eat lunch.

It's currently 5.30pm and we're back in the Cambrian Mountains in a different lay-by. It's still raining and it's still foggy and apparently there's an amber weather alert for the Brecon's. If the van starts rocking, we'll move on, problem is; we don't know if forward will take us down now, or further up lol

We do have some neighbours though!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday & Sunday in Wales Post 1

On Saturday, we packed up the van with clothes, food, toiletries, dog food and the like and set off for Wales.

We caught the 12pm ferry from the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth and I started driving.

We headed towards Bristol and then across the Severn Bridge.

We ended up alternating between England and Wales as we drove along the border for a while, eventually pulling into Tidenham car park.

We took a dawdle along Offa's Dyke before settling in for the evening.

I went to sleep early, my back was absolute agony!

The next morning we ate some breakfast and walked along Offa's Dyke again.

By the time we got back to the car park; it was lunchtime. We ordered a burger from a guy with a mobile burger bar (it was scrumptious) then set off after lunch!

I got very pissed off with mum, she'll say "I want to go over here somewhere", but doesn't tell me where that is in relation to our current position, then gets pissed off if I go the wrong way!

Gospel Pass
Eventually we worked out where we were and where Brecon Beacons was in relation to us, but I made the fatal mistake of following her "this'll do" directions and ended up driving along Gospel Pass which goes through the Black Mountains!

Now, anyone who lives in Wales is probably already laughing, Gospel Pass is a very narrow one track road and I took the camper along there!

I did a lot of reversing to let people past, scratched the side of my van by pulling over into hedges to let people pass.

But eventually we reached the summit, just in time to see the sunset! It was amazing!

We camped here for the night. It was cold and I entertained thoughts of stabbing my mum with knitting needles - she SNORES!

I didn't get a lot of sleep and I woke feeling achey and tired, so after breakfast we went for a walk and burned off some energy before heading off to look for somewhere to get water for the campers tanks!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 22 October 2010

Every animal should have an ode

I'm a big Star Trek fan - I grew up watching it because of my parent and my kids grew up watching it too!

One of my favourite bits is when Data recites an ode to his cat, Spot.

If you've never seen Star Trek The Next Generation, then you probably won't know that Data is akin to Pinocchio; he is an android who dreams of becoming human.

His cat is a beautiful Ginger tabby that he dotes on and he composed the following ode to her:

'Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,
an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?
Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses
contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
a singular development of cat communications
that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aide in locomotion,
it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.'

I think every pet should have an ode like this!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Thought I'd splurge

I thought this might be useful, I've just bought a blogger app which I can use on both my iPad and my iPhone!

This should make things easier!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Today I......

...........have bought Christmas presents on, made purchases and left feedback on eBay, sent a paypal payment, booked ferry tickets and done the usual Twitter/Facebook/surfing Ravelry all on my iPad!!

Surfing has been quick - not sure if that's because it's off my wifi or not. I'm waiting for my sim card to arrive from o2 - wonder if it'll be here before we go...

Ooooh! Hang on, have I mentioned this? On Saturday; Mum, Alex, Isis & I are going to Wales for a week in the camper!

Yes, I know; we're going to freeze to death!!!

But I've only been to Wales once and that was for Wonderwool! I want to see the mountains! I want to walk around the gorgeous countryside! I want to visit my friend, Kristina (if you're on Ravelry, you'll know her as Wyndwitch) and on Halloween I shall be collecting my snakes from Sam!!!

I'm very excited about this! I'm going to be bringing home two baby corn snakes and I can't wait! I've got a vivarium (complete with hide, water bowl, heat mat and aspin) and a box of frozen mice in the freezer - much to Kyles disgust LOL

We'll be going all over, so if you're in Wales and fancy a visit; send me an e-mail or message somewhere and I'll try and swing by!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

So, the first day has passed

Forgive me; I have NO idea what this post will look like; it seems blogger won't let me use compose mode, so I'm having to write this in HTML mode lol.

I didn't use my Mac yesterday, but that may have been more because I wasn't HERE yesterday!

Matt and I went to Southampton as he's being transferred from the paediatric team to the adult team this year and the adult team decided they wanted another MRI done *sigh* so we wandered over, caught the bus (which turned out to be the bus which goes all round the houses. By 1.10, I was starting to worry as we were late, so I called the department.

It wasn't until that moment that I realized the letter said 1pm on NOVEMBER 1st!!!

I ended the call in embarrassment after asking if there was any chance of being squeezed in (they refused), got off the bus and phoned home to rant.

Got back on the bus to go back in to Southampton and went straight to KFC for something to eat (ranting takes a lot of energy, you know!)

After we were both fed, I dragged Matt into Fabric Land to buy fabric for a new knitting bag that my friend Rachel is making me

Then we wandered around Southampton towards the ferry.

It wasn't until we were pulling into Cowes that Matt realized he'd lost his phone! We asked the staff at Cowes who called through to Southampton who confirmed it was there - this is what happens when you wear your trousers down so low 'teenager style'; everything falls out of your pockets!

Unfortunately, a ferry had just left Southampton, so we had to wait an HOUR for a member of staff to turn up with it.

By the time I got home, I literally had time to grab a few bits and head off to knit night!

We went to a different place this week after the debacle at Table Table and it was perfect - or it would've been if they hadn't had quiz night! Which we knew nothing about when we booked and is apparently held every Monday!

Shame really, it was quiet and very well lit. Oh well, the hunt is still on for a good venue and I'm still loving the iPad!

*edited to add* I took my iPad to knit night last night, I carried it in my bag with my purse, Mandala and a project bag with two support spindles, 100g of fibre, the 5 metres of fabric from Fabric Land and my new knitting project (I'm knitting up the alpaca/merino I spun during the TdF this year)

I pulled the project bag out and carried it independently but my bag was HEAVY! Giving the fabric to Rachel helped, but my bag was still heavy on the way home - the iPad weighs a lot!

Monday, 18 October 2010

To follow on

I've actually been thinking about the last line in my last post and while it was said in jest; I actually started to wonder...what do I use my computer for?

I sit next to my computer when I'm in my craftroom and I have tweetdeck running so I can keep up with twitter and Facebook, I keep my files and pictures on it, I surf Ravelry and a few other sites and I type the occasional letter.

Well, I actually keep all my files, pictures, music, etc on an external hard drive, I keep very little on the Mac itself.

So, I have this fabulous Mac which, while I love it, I don't use it to it's full potential!

So can I exist without my computer and survive just with my iPhone, iPod Touch and my new 64g 3G iPad?

Let the experiment begin!

I am going to shut down my computer tonight and I hope to leave it switched off until I return from a holiday in Wales - I return home on Halloween!

We'll see how well I do!

I'll try to keep you informed via blog - but I refuse to pay for any of the blogger apps as I don't know what it is they actually do!  Therefore, any updating will be done on my iPad via Safari!

You can also keep up with what I'm doing on twitter and facebook!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

I succumbed

Unless you're a hermit, you will probably have heard of the iPad!

I ignored the hype, what did I need an iPad for?  I've got a classic iPod, an iPod Touch and an iPhone 4 - I don't need an iPad.  It helped that, because there are no Apple stores here, I hadn't actually seen/touched one.

Then Matt had a cardio check-up in Southampton and we walk right past the Apple store!  Of course, we went in and had a play with them and both decided that they were extremely cool.  But unless one of the catalogues were going to do them, there was no way I'd be able to afford one.

Unfortunately, Argos sent me an e-mail a week ago and I couldn't help it.  I resisted, I really did....for about 12 hours.

Then I accidentally clicked the buy button next to the 64g 3G model.

Ooooh Shiny!

This thing is amazing!  I love it and I can even type on it, not as fast as I can on the computer, but that's just practise!  I love it so much, I'm considering selling my computer!

Anyone wanna buy a year old Mac Mini?

Humbug Aeolian

I also meant to show you this which I finished before Mandala - remember the humbug yarn I spun at the beginning of the year? Well, I finally knit it all up!

Isn't it gorgeous? I'm very very pleased with this!

There's about 90g of beads and a stupendous amount of 9 stitch nupps in this shawl!

Pattern: Aeolian
Yarn: Handspun BFL Humbug
Time: 11-06-10 - 31-08-10

Friday, 15 October 2010


During the Tour de Fleece, I spun up some SW Cheviot. I was extraordinarily proud of it as it came out super fine - the best I've ever spun!

I knew by the time I'd finished it that it was going to be Mandala. This shawl is fascinating to knit! There are four sections and on each section you can choose from four different charts, so the possibilities are endless. You get a different shawl everytime you knit it!

Labour of Love
I started knitting this shawl on 1st September and focused on little else - even my spindles got abandoned.

I got toward the end, started the edging and started to panic; would I have enough yarn to finish? What would I do if I ran out?

I made some calculations and reassured that I had more than enough; I plowed on with the edging border.

I got about halfway round and then suddenly had one of those lightbulb holyshit moments! I had calculated that I cast off 11 stitches for every repeat of the edging chart, when in fact; I only cast off 6.

I felt extremely sick!

So I went back and calculated again - apparently I would still have enough!

I finished today - I had 214cm of yarn left!!!

I set about blocking it - my mats weren't big enough, so I had to use Alex's kingsize bed. Blocking a circle evenly is hard!

Pattern: Mandala
Yarn: Handspun Cheviot
Time: 1-09-10 - 15-10-10

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The one where I slag off Table Table

Our knitting group has been meeting for two years now and for most of those two years we've met in Table Table in Newport, we meet on the first and the third Monday of every month. We even booked Christmas dinner in there the first year!

Over these years; we've seen staff come and go, but the current staff in there just take the biscuit. I swear they're all quite young except for maybe three of them.

Several times we've arrived to find people sitting at the table that we have reserved, the excuse is usually something along the lines of 'they've been here for a few hours, thought they'd be gone by now' to our bookings mysteriously disappearing from the diary. As it's never chronically busy in there, we've just shrugged our shoulders and sat somewhere else.

Last time we went in there we were actually asked to move to another table so they could set up for breakfast as the waiters 'are all students who have to go to college early tomorrow'. They start vacuuming around the customers at 10pm to try and force them to leave early.

Then there are the instances where Kathy & Fançoise will order coffee and it'll take 20 minutes to arrive, Kaz orders something and part of the order won't turn up, food may be cold because it's been sat on the bar for ten minutes before someone remembers to bring it round. Tonight was the final straw.

We got in there tonight to find that our table wasn't reserved - again. I ordered sausage & mash for Jake, chilli con carne, chips & a side salad for myself and took my drink over to our table. Kaz ordered some onion rings, dough balls and chips. She also order a pint of Best Bitter only to be told they'd run out!

My dinner arrived about ten minutes later, but I'd almost finished it before Kaz's dinner arrived! After we'd finished eating, we sat and chatted and knit.

After 20 minutes or so, deciding we were still hungry, Kaz and I both went to the bar and ordered some profiteroles and another drink each. When we got back to the table; there was already one portion of profiteroles there. Kaz told me to eat them as we assumed her's would be along pretty quick.

After 15 minutes I called the waiter over (who hadn't once asked if our meals were ok or cleared our table!) and asked when Kaz could expect her dessert. He went off to check. When he came back, he admitted that her ticket had 'disappeared' in the kitchen and they were just being "sorted now".

They duly arrived and were frozen solid in the middle, so I took them up to the bar and explained what was going on to the manageress. She was rather blunt, picked up the plate and prodded one of the profiteroles with the spoon then said "I'll get you some more" in an exasperated tone.

What we got back were - well, quite frankly - disgusting! The profiteroles had been placed in a microwave and nuked on a high setting! They were warm and the whipped cream inside had completely melted.

I was furious and demanded that Kaz be given a refund and also asked to see the manager. She claimed that she had apologised the first time I'd taken them back, yet neither Kaz nor I had heard her, I told her I was furious that I'd had to demand a refund and that I wasn't impressed with the level of service we get in there. The apology I eventually got was extremely half hearted.

Normally we're there until near on closing time, but I would still expect a restaurant to wait until all the customers had left before vacuuming the premesis. Last time they even asked us to move to another table so the staff could sort our table for breakfast!

The waiting staff rarely come and clear our table and hardly ever ask if everything is alright with our meals - the one young man who used to do this has been conspicuously absent over the last month or so!

We'd already been muttering about looking for somewhere else to meet and tonight has just made it all the more....urgent!

No Table Table, Isle of Wight Fibre Crafts won't be back in two weeks!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Spindles! Spindles! Spindles

New spindle
Oh dear, spindles - support spindles - seem to be taking over! I now own a Mexican Bocote from Gripping Yarn and a Tibetan from A Spinner's Lair, I've recently ordered a gorgeous support spindle from Grizzly Mountain Arts too.

IST Spindles
Then a couple of weeks ago, Ian mentioned that he wanted to start making Russian support spindles, so I went over to show him the one I had and we talked about weight and how well they spun.  Then he asked me to test a couple for him.

Look at these beauties!  They both spin really well and I love them both!  On the left is Kingwood and Mexican Bocote on the right.

I have projects on all of my spindles now - I think my wheel is a bit jealous!
A few weeks ago, I was asked to write an article on dyeing yarn and fibre for Creative Crafting magazine, the magazine went live on the 1st October and my article covers four pages!!

How cool is that?  You can go and read the Creative Crafting here - my article starts on page 54.

Sunday, 26 September 2010


If you read my blog regularly; you'll know I don't really think much of Hampshire & Isle of Wight police - well, Friday really took the biscuit!

We decided to take the van up on the downs to have a cup of tea, see how it performed going up hills and whether it was comfortable to sit in while stationary and moving.

As there was no water in the tank; I pulled up outside the house and ran the hose round (no, I don't have off road parking right outside my house!) - I usually do this at night as I live quite near the lights and on a busy road. Not gridlocked, but constant traffic.

So, I pull up, Mum pulls the hose round and I stick it in the filling hole. Of course, 30 seconds later a police car went sailing past.

I watched it drive up the road and turn around - I thought 'Oh, here we go!' But it drove straight past without slowing or even acknowledgement from the people inside. I thought 'Cool! It's obvious what we're doing and that we're not going to be here long.' After all, I wasn't vacuuming it out or anything.

Then another police car comes down the road with three....officers inside. They pulled up next to my van, causing all the traffic going in both directions to stop as they could no longer get past so that the officer could wind his window down and ask:

"Do you have to do that here?" I blinked at him.
"Um, yes. I live here."
"Well, you can't do that here, you're causing an obstruction." UM...WTF?!?!?!?! I bit my tongue and asked how else I was supposed to fill it
"Take it to a petrol station or something." Yeah, cos that water's clean NOT!

I mean really! The only vehicles that wouldn't have got past me were buses or lorries, cars and vans were having no problem at all.

Well, not until that police car stopped right in the middle of the road, anyway!

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Yes, it's the time of year again when spinners all around the world come out of the woodwork and dare to spin where everyone can see them!

I met up with Rachel and made her sit right in the middle of St Thomas' Square, Newport where everybody could see us (that was the point, right?).

We were immediately accosted by these three:

But they let us go after seeing how fabulous we were. (I actually know the one in the middle LOL)

Then a bit later on, this guy turned up.

Then one of the other Rachels arrived (there are 3 in our group!) and we had our picture taken by the local newpaper photographer. Then the first Rachel left and the other Rachel and I settled in for an afternoon of spinning.

Then I heard a familiar sound and when I turned around I discovered that the stormtroopers and Jedi had been joined by Darth Vadar too!

They were all there collecting for the British Heart Foundation and they stayed all day!

There were a lot of families about and this little brother and sister act took a huge fascination with Rachels wheel.

The boy asked a lot of questions and the girl just couldn't resist helping the wheel to turn. They were adorable but the parents annoyed me, they went and sat at a table (quite a distance away) and totally ignored what their children were doing, they never asked if the kids were bothering us - never once asked if it was ok for the girl to touch Rachel's wheel and then never thanked us for entertaining the kids for over half an hour while they scoffed their lunch; just rounded up the kids and left!

The weather was sunny - if a bit drafty and I had a really good day. Unfortunately, I finished the day on a migraine (which I think I've managed to squash!) and I'm planning on going out again today. I'm debating taking the wheel - I might just take my Russian support spindle instead (the weather looks ominous and it's easier to cover a Russian support spindle than it is to cover a wheel when it's raining LOL)

So, if you're in Newport on the Isle of Wight today, come to St James Square and find me!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Support Spindling

I have recently purchased a Russian Support Spindle and I love it, then I was nosing around Ravelry and spotted a Tibetan style spindle, so I bought that too.

I must say, I actually prefer the Tibetan to the Russian - it spins so effortlessly and for longer than the Russian!

Recently a conversation on spinning with support spindles started up between fleegle and myself. I'd seen a video on youtube showing a woman support spindling, but she wasn't even touching the spindle.

I just couldn't figure out how it was done, so fleegle made me a vid :D

This video is great and has already helped me immensely!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Nine Years Ago...

I remember that afternoon very clearly - I don't remember what I did in the morning, or what film Simon and I went to see that night, but I remember the afternoon.

I was at home, Simon (my partner at the time) had popped back to his for a shower and a change of clothes and to do some shopping. I was tidying up as my friend Lou was bringing her two boys, Owen & Daniel, around for a play date.

Simon and I were texting back and forth discussing what film we were going to see that night at the cinema.

Then I received a text - most people found out the same way - Simon had written 'have you seen the attack on America?'

I sent back 'no, who's in it?'

He sent back 'turn the TV on...any channel'

I turned on in time to see the fires, the screams, the smoke.

I stood shock still in the middle of my lounge, phone in hand, staring at the TV in horror.

Lou arrived and as the boys raced upstairs I asked her: 'have you seen?' She nodded her face white.

I sent a txt to my father and I'm pretty sure I sent it to the majority of my address book (I don't remember) then Lou and I sat on the sofa, staring at the TV holding hands while tears streamed down our faces.

We watched in horror as the second plane hit and heard the screams and the stunned silence of the reporters. We heard the sirens, saw the smoke, the fire. We saw the stranded people jump...

We sobbed.

I didn't know anyone who was there that day, (but I had a friend who had a family member who should've been there. They had a tense few days before they heard that she was safe.) but I felt so much pain at what happened.

The World Trade Centre is gone now, there are few - if any - signs of what happened on that dreadful day that has become universally known as '9/11'.

But everyone remembers.

We won't ever forget.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Customer photos

Do you remember the Salami Socks? Well, Tasha is getting married and her friend Emma offered to knit her some knee high socks for her wedding day.

Well, Tasha chose yarn from me and as they were knee high socks, asked me to dye up two skeins. I did this and sent them free of charge - my wedding gift - and Emma got knitting!

Look at these fabulous socks!

Aren't they great?

Emma had quite a lot of yarn left over so she made some mittens too!

After all that, she still had 50-60g left

and has sent the rest to Tasha who, apparently, is going to do something with them.

Can't wait to see what!

Some photos for you from Norway

There were so many things we saw and I took a lot of photos. Unfortunately, the camera clock had reset itself and I can't remember what day I plugged the batteries back into it and the date on the photos reads January 2005!

So I'm going to through a whole load of photos at you for you to enjoy! If you want to see the entire album, the click here

We were driving along the road and suddenly spotted a lot of cars parked by the roadside, we had no idea why and I almost crashed when I rounded a bend and saw this gorgeous waterfall!

Which led into this gorgeous rushing river.

This lighthouse was very near to the bridges and tunnels leading into/outof Copenhagen

The freshwater lake where the 'Wikings' swim!

They have Lion Bar icecream in Norway!!!

"Hmmm? What tub of ice cream?"

Lakes, mountains, snow and waterfalls

It was all too much for some!