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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.