All quiet on the Western front

Published April 28, 2014 by Jackie

It’s been a while since I posted, a drop in momentum caused by a short break from work ~ sometimes it just works that you can wangle what is ostensibly a 12.5 day holiday for just 3 days of annual leave used, thanks to the judicial placing of public holidays and other such lovelies! And when I’m away from my desk, I browse the internet but don’t contribute very much usually, so nothing has been written… but much has been knitted!

So what did I do with myself? I had an overnight trip to London, to say goodbye to our director who had been headhunted by a competitor. Unlike many of the middle management who are ‘moving on’ she was required to work her notice, and in the interim, massive changes are underway at work. We did this completely on the cheap, our London-based dept wouldn’t pay for travel, but Scotland did! Since it was booked (free first class one way, extortionate standard/cattle class back) we have discovered a pretty good reason ~ the London manager is staying, but the Scottish manager is departing ~ no comeback on him perhaps?

But doing this on the cheap meant a chance to stay overnight with family, and if you know me, you know how much I love my beautiful nieces, so even a chance for a few hours in their company is to be grabbed. Both were on good form, delighted to take a few minutes to have proper measurements taken ~ lured by the prospect of snuggly jumpers I think ~ and to sit and chat about this and that. They are both growing into lovely young women, not a sign of the terrible teens at all, tho perhaps that was the fleeting nature of my visit!

Train travel for me means extensive knitting time! I managed two sleeves, one on each leg of the journey. However, they’ve since been re-knit, as the body of the garment just felt a bit dense, no fluidity! All is done now. I resisted buying more yarn and will work in a third contrast colour rather than risk running out mid-pattern… However, as I have since found a new source of this now-discontinued yarn, it’s tempting me….

Lots of time spent knitting ~ our regular Sunday slot, our crafty choristers meeting on Tuesdays when there’s no choir (wheeee! choir starts again tomorrow!), ladies who lunch and trade yarn, Saturday yarn party (more on this later) and lots of time for knitting at home. And BALLET!

Ballet… I love ballet, hmm that’s not quite the statement you think it is, actually I can’t be bothered with traditional ballet, the hand-gesturey pointe stuff, but love a bit of contemporary dance that’s not too off the wall!  This was Matthew Bourne-style ballet, and I will go out of my way to see his ballets ~ traditional tales told in a contemporary way. Last week was Swan Lake, yes, THAT Swan Lake, the one with the men. It is quite the best thing ever, and last week was my third time of seeing it. And this time, it reduced me to tears. I’m quite prepared to accept that it’s a trick of the show, as unlike Sadlers Wells with a live orchestra, on tour the music is recorded, and I’m sure they crank up the volume for the final scenes, so it quite literally makes your heart tremble… 

But it was simply magnificent, and our seats were the best for an unimpeded view, front row of the grand circle. Having the right seats makes such a difference. There’s not a lot has surpassed the premiere of Dorian Grey, but we were 3 rows from the front of the stalls, in a venue with a low stage, and you feel like you can hear the dancers’ heartbeats there. Compare that with the rear of the upper circle, and it’s a whole different production. Always buy the best seats you can afford, but if you can’t afford the best, just go anyway! I saw a tweet yesterday for Sleeping Beauty ~ it has been on the tv and is now available on YouTube, but actually being there is something so very special!

Back to yarny adventures, and on Saturday we held a (very) belated Christmas party for our knitting group. It moved to a new venue last year, and has changed significantly in the interim. Lots of new people go, a lot of the regulars don’t, and it’s in the opposite direction for me (ie wrong direction). We tried keeping a city centre group going too, but finding a good city-centre venue on a Thursday has proved difficult. Limited menus, expensive hotels, busy pubs ~ I stopped going just before Christmas and haven’t been lured back ~ tho I am first to say yes to a weekend meet-up instead.

Anyway, back to the yarn-party. This was the ‘old crew’, mostly the original Tea-Tree-ers, and what a lovely day it was. Lots of babies and toddlers and faces not seen for a while, stash to be de-stashed or sold, a chance to get rid of some things that were lurking, and a chance to sell or trade some other things that had proved uninspiring for you, but too valuable to give away.  Surprisingly I found lots of really interesting stuff to take away, even a couple of things from the sale table! The biggest surprise was selling my most expensive bags of yarn, I’d marked them as half original price, but with the price even lower if all were bought. And lovely Cathy was inspired enough to buy them all! I must work out if I spent more than I made, or broke even. I know I used some of my £2 coin stash, but I also found a £20 note in beside my camera!

I think the new stash will feed my current whim of making kids jumpers. Definitely the red alpaca DK will! And I think the blue 4-ply too, tho it might be very handy for the colourwork waistcoat in the offing, as it needs hand-washed, which is not something you want to give to a toddler mum.

But the biggest treat was just seeing all the little children who have been added to our group over the years. And getting to snuffle (oops I mean snuggle) the very newest of them. Here’s to Alice, Magnus, Alexander, Matthew, tiny Alana and even tinier Elisa, you absolutely made my day! And to the grown-ups? Let’s do that again, soon!

ps when I said I resisted buying yarn, what I specifically meant was ‘not any more of that particular yarn… yet!’ I did buy some yarn at the destash, but more specifically, I also visited Loop while I was in London, picked up an order placed earlier in the week, and added a skein of Socks That Rock that spoke to me from the shelves…. but I also sold an entire bag of Rowan Aran Tweed to Jo, which probably balanced out the Loop order both in quantity and in cost! But not the Socks that Rock…

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