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… and the beat goes on!

Published August 14, 2015 by Jackie

Well I just decided to publish that last post, pretty much as it was written. I’d been pondering deleting, or radically editing, but what the heck, I re-read it and decided just to press the Publish button instead.

So now on to more of my Festival, a mixed bag, and there are still so many tickets to go. Saturday was a fantastic day, I met M after her morning rehearsal in DanceBase, and as we were heading to a show there mid-afternoon, we decided to pop across the road for a bite to eat. M mentioned that a dear friend of ours, who lives near Inverness now, was in town with her husband. Then L texted to say she wasn’t far away, she was in a pub up by the castle, and we were underneath in the Grassmarket, so they rushed down and joined us ~ or rather, L did, while her husband and friend said a quick hello before heading to a different pub. We had a great catch-up, must be all of 7 years since I last saw L, and she’s one of the loveliest people I know, so happy to see her and catch up.

Then M and I popped over to DanceBase to see some local dancers, and the first part was about the cycle of an enduring friendship between two women. How appropriate. The second part, also very good, was choreographed by someone we met on our way to lunch.

If you enjoy dance performances, you should always check out what’s happening at DanceBase during the Festival. They don’t brag, they don’t hype up the show, and also, they don’t over-charge either. But they do showcase both local and world class talent, and sometimes the local talent IS world class.

We dashed out of Dancebase to our show at the Traverse, and were delighted to find friends in the queue already, so we were in a good position to choose seats, rather than being separated and stuck in awkward corners. I mentioned the show in my previous post, so I’ll just say we enjoyed it again, and move on to the next….

A quick dash across town to the Festival Theatre, for Sylvie Guillem. The theatre was packed, after all it’s her farewell tour this year, and there will be no chance to see her dance again. I don’t think I’ve ever come across such a spell-bound audience, barely a cough. Sylvie’s performance was exquisite, extraordinary, breathtaking. How many superlatives can I throw in here?

Four pieces on the bill, Sylvie danced in three. The first and last were solo pieces, and in the third piece she dances a pas de deux with Emanuela Montanari. This piece, and the first, were my favourites. Although she started her career as a classical ballet dancer, these pieces were entirely contemporary, but beautiful. Even though the conversation and performance were in the first weekend, I think they are probably the highlight of my Festival, and I shall remember her performances for a long time to come.

My only other Festival outing this week was to a Cuban ballet company performance as part of the Pleasance Fringe. I think the less said about this one, the better… it was sorely lacking in comparison to Sylvie, hardly surprising. The music was so amplified it was even hard to tell if the dozen or so musicians were performing live, or miming, Top of the Pops style…. and the dance I compared to being caught in an infinite loop of cheesy Pan’s People numbers (if you’re over 40 you know what I mean!)

If only they had performed the entire show with the exuberance of their final bows, it might be a different story. But as it was, the only plus was the 2-for-1 ticket!

But there are many more shows ahead of me over the next 2 weeks, mostly International Festival perfomances ~ so watch this space!

Edinburgh’s F-bomb has dropped!

Published August 14, 2015 by Jackie

So it’s August, and it’s Edinburgh, and a whacking great F-bomb has dropped with a splat!!! One day, just another day, next day, all hell breaks loose, in the nicest possible way for me, but it’s chaos in town now.

I know a lot of local people up their general moaning about this n’ that in August, I was one of those people many years ago too, but the thing is, you can’t fight it, so why not go with the flow instead? The whole world is coming to your very doorstep, and you’ve got the cheapest bed in town, your own! I can guarantee you will not be disappointed… okay maybe now and again you are, but that’s part of the fun!

Last week started for me with a wee lunchtime wander up to Traverse, for tickets, and Usher Hall, for choir subs. I came out of the Traverse and saw my first familiar face (as in A-Z list of the glitterati), only I just couldn’t place him at all… and then a wander round to the Usher Hall had me thinking ‘why on earth have they covered the box-office extension in grey hoarding?’

The latter was easy to work out, the Usher Hall had been turned into a blank canvas for the Harmonium Project free light show, which was to kick off the International Festival at the end of the week, more on that later.

The former, who was that face? Took a few hours, and then a whole week, to determine. I thought he looked a bit like the guy from Silent Witness, the older guy, who runs the forensic lab… a bit of IMDB research told me this was Will Gaminara, but I found nothing on the internet that linked him to Edinburgh this year. That means nothing, of course, and a week later, when a few of us went to see a play, The Christians, at the Traverse Theatre (mostly to show support for a fellow lady-tenor who was in the choir on stage) I was delighted to discover that it was Mr Gaminara in the title role. plus another familiar face, I’ve not named her yet, but she played his wife/partner in the same tv show, but they are not, as I mistakenly thought, a real couple. The play was very good, lots of food for thought.

But I’m skipping ahead, this was Saturday, and I’ve not mentioned our fabulous Friday yet, so let’s start with the event that has kicked off my Festival month!

I’d been allocated tickets for an EIF In Conversation event, just in a free ballot I’d entered; all I did was press a button on Twitter! This was the first of a short series of In Conversation events, live-streamed on BBC Arts Online, and was held in the Sky Bar at DoubleTrees in Bread St. Deborah Bull, former Royal Ballet star, was talking to Sylvie Guillem about her career and her farewell tour, and we had tickets for the first night of three in Edinburgh, the next evening.

The view was impressive, but very very hot, partly because it was a lovely day outside, and we were behind glass, but mostly from the TV lights. Having now seen the resulting interview online, I can report that those lights worked some magic, except on us, the audience… we did look like we were wilting a bit.

But it was the most fascinating hour, listening to Sylvie talk about her career, dancing with Rudolf Nureyev, leaving Paris Opera to follow her path, and no longer be shackled by the company, her time at Royal Ballet, and about her up-coming performances.

Sylvie was utterly charming and unpreposessing. She talked about being tall, but from three feet away, she seemed so very slight, but sinewy, and she carried a couple of battle-scars on her legs. From her talk, we could tell she was ready to retire. There was conversation about her giving up the classical repertoire, did she dance her final Swan Lake in 2000, or did she give up after 2000 performances? Clearly she knows her mind, and her path. She won’t think about the future until after the last performance, but knows that although she can choreograph, she doesn’t have that innate language that makes a great choreographer, so that’s not her future. Time will tell, was her message.

My friend M, who is dancing herself in a few days, was utterly charmed, but felt totally inadequate about her own abilities after watching the clips, and as we sat downstairs post-event, and Sylvie left the building, did her ‘we are not worthy’ thing.

But hey, if all the dancers in the world were Mount Everest, there is still only room for one or two at the pinnacle, and the rest of the world that Everest sits on is all the non-dancers out there!

So that was our first event, and we wanted to stay in the general area for the Harmonium event later that evening. We passed the Lyceum, asked what was on and did they have tickets? And took our guides over to the Filmhouse where we perused them to make a decision. In the end, we opted for The Last Hotel at the Lyceum, because, well, Festival proper, M gets half-price tickets now it is August, and there was nothing else we fancied.

Hmmm well, sometimes you have to book something out of your comfort zone just to remind you why these things aren’t in your comfort zone! It was a chamber opera, even the set was depressing, think 70s shabby hotel, and the singing was difficult to follow and disonant. No melodies, lovely or otherwise, although the live orchestra, well they weren’t bad.

And then after, outside for the Harmonium light show. Lothian Rd was just beginning to fill, and we found a space that wasn’t so bad, but it got more and more crowded as 10.30 approached. But the crowd were good-humoured, and tall men who decided to stand in front of us took it in good humour when we, and then the younger women behind us, asked him to move further back and out of our line of view.

The lightshow was incredible! The backdrop was entirely the Usher Hall, and as the music played and the choir sang, wonderful images were projected onto its facade. From a drawing of the hall projected onto the hall, faces emerging from lines and pulses, constellations playing across, until the dome started to spin in several different layers, and spotlights shot up into the night sky, illuminating the real constellations. Incredible!

What we decided, when it was all over, was that all we’d spent was £11 each on tickets, and the price of our dinner, and really, for that, we’d well and truly had our money’s worth for the evening!

Next day? ah there’s so much more, so I shall take a short break and be back to finish this soon

Keep calm and don’t panic

Published July 31, 2015 by Jackie

Otherwise known as ‘It’ll be alright on the night’

I’ve been having a wee panic to myself, as always from trying to do too much at once, knit-wise, and from non-knitting life getting in the way of knitting. While I certainly don’t mind life getting in the way, because (other than work) it’s usually enjoyable things that are happening to me ~ y’know me, theatre, concerts, day trips, meeting friends, that kind of thing. And sometimes there are things in life you can enjoy AND take your knitting! Those things are good.

However, I had a few deadlines, and was beginning to panic (mildly, but panic none-the-less) that I could achieve those deadlines. One was missed by a week or so, but I’m delighted to say I finished the sewing together of our work’s communal baby blanket last night. The two wee jumpers I was making for a friend’s little girls I finished just the night before ~ and I shall hand those over next week. And I have enough flowers and leaves for our joint-project garland for Jane, assembling tomorrow, so that is a relief too.

I still have to create photo-tags for the blanket, but the images are all printed, and the luggage tags and glue bought… watch out for photos of the photos in situ, I hope the recipient is amused!

And suddenly it’s the end of July, and might it actually be time to think about Christmas gift knitting? Oh dear, but if I want to gift my nieces the sweaters they have chosen, then maybe I should start now? That’s good, the yarn is all in stash, just waiting to go. But is it realistic to start now? to be honest with myself, probably best to wait til the Festival is over, for ’tis that time of year.

So maybe just pick a wee project that’s easy to carry, requires no thinking, and can be knit while standing in the endless Fringe queues…. Laura, I know you’ll read this eventually, but I have finally found the perfect pattern for the lovely skein of Bermuda from Ginger Twist that you gave me last year. It will be paired with another special find to make something fabulous for me this time!

and I shall think about Christmas tomorrow, fiddle-de-dee! After all, tomorrow is another day.

Family past, family present

Published July 23, 2015 by Jackie

My weekend seemed to be mostly family related, family past and family present, and I guess family future too!

On Friday, my friend and I went down to the preview evening of another friend’s exhibition. What does this have to do with family? Well, the exhibition is in the village that was my family home for over 30 years, the village my mother and both of her sisters retired back to in the late 1970s. A lovely wee seaside village called Alnmouth in Northumberland. It’s such a beautiful little village, the river curls around the village, and opens out into the sea, which isolates the village on a little promontary. You can see it from the main Edinburgh to London railway line, a mix of large Victorian houses and tiny fishermen’s cottages, and everything in between, including the 1960s apartment complex my mother lived in. Several pubs & hotels, and a 9-hole golf course between the village and the beach.

I’ve not been back since we sold my mum’s flat in early 2008, a year after she died. What I wasn’t prepared for was how I would feel as I came down the hill from the station, and over the bridge that is the gateway into the village. A huge lump in my throat, and it was as if Alnmouth had pulled out all the stops to make this a memorable evening. The village has clearly prospered in those years, everywhere was sparkling in the beautiful evening sunshine. A breeze was rustling through the trees, and as we walked up to the gallery, wood-pigeons were coo-ing. Although I didn’t really live there myself, I visited a lot over the years, and I think I understand why my mother and her sisters were so keen to get back to the village where they’d spent most of their childhood.

I’d also arranged to meet one of Mum’s neighbours, who was also a lovely friend to her. They played Scrabble together every week on a Thursday, and a second time if I came down for the weekend. She was also the person who drove us family members up and down to the station ~ just a mile or so, but a long walk that takes just 3 minutes in a car. It was so good to see her at the preview event, we sat out in the yard chatting away, exchanging family news from both sides, for a good half-hour! Oh and of course, showing photographs of the family that were on my phone.

I was delighted to be back, because although I pass regularly, and often think of visiting, I’d just not got round to it. My last few visits, while we still had the flat to stay in, had become increasingly difficult, as each time, my mum’s friends would stop me for a chat and tell me how much they missed her, which of course, I did too! It was time to move on, but now the grief is past, and I’ve also broken the ice with this flying visit, I shall be delighted to drop by again, after all, it’s only an hour away by train!

Saturday saw me with ‘family present’, and meeting the next generation, my wee great-niece who lives in Aberdeen. Her father, my eldest nephew, now 40, and her mum have had an acrimonious separation, and it’s only as she has got a little older that his daughter is now allowed to stay every other weekend. She’s a bright wee button, and my nephew has moved out of his city-centre flat into a modern little terraced house, up a quiet cul-de-sac, with a gated back garden. Perfect for a little girl to run around in…. non-stop!

Her granny comes to visit overnight, and this time there was a house full of family, as my second nephew and his girlfriend drove me up for this visit. Girlfriend had met granny, but not the little girl. She also had to contend with their wee dog, who thinks that little kids are perfect to play with, as he can stand on his back legs to lick their faces! M wasn’t too keen on this, so we were teaching her how to say No! and Get Down! Poor little thing was also covered in itchy (but no longer infectious) chickenpox scabs… teeny tiny ones but lots of them.

Next day, when all was quiet, she was asking where everyone had gone? Seems she had a lovely weekend and didn’t really want to go back home to mum and big brother… I hope the parents keep it civilised between them, for her sake, it’s better to say nothing than to put each other down. But hey, not my business… I’m just here to be her auntie, and rather than a great auntie, I’d prefer it if I could be a fabulous one! I shall be back! I have to, she asked for a green rabbit to go with her striped Elijah.

Happy times, Part Two

Published July 16, 2015 by Jackie

A continuation of my lovely days spent with my delightful nieces…

Back in May, I reported about our family wedding, and that there were going to be some meet-ups off the back of this. This weekend, I’m heading up to meet my wee great-niece for the first time, tho she’s now two and a half (the half is very important when you are two and a half!). With any luck, I shall get a lift north with nephew 2 and his girlfriend, and take the train back, it’s just a day trip…

Meanwhile, we arranged to meet up last week with nephew 2 and his girlfriend and their wee dog, while the girls were here. So we decided to meet up. Nephew offered a couple of options ~ at the time they sounded difficult to get to, so I’d suggested somewhere accessible by bus for us, the beach at Portobello. Turns out they have a car, and came to pick us up!

Girls were very excited about meeting a dog in our family, there aren’t many. I think we were all a little underwhelmed, as far from being an exciteable wee thing, he’s well trained and independent, does his own thing and no misbehaving when meeting other dogs, barely needed his lead. It was good to spend more time with C and his girlfriend though, we had a tasty pub lunch after an hour on of bracing sea air along the prom, and a couple of hours of chatter and Connect4 before being dropped back home where we had an evening of old family photos.

I inherited the box of photos from my mum, and I think she had inherited her sister’s photos too. I must go through them again, there were so many that I had NO idea who or where they were, and even I was getting mixed up, my grandmother and her sister looked very alike! And there were so few photos of me, and their dad, but lots of the girls as babies, and their big-boy cousins too! But there were some of their dad’s graduation, age 21, with me, age about 24 looking completely different! And some of their uncle, my older brother, who died before they were born. It’s good to share some of those memories, pass them on.

Our last full day together was spent in the company of my friend L. I’d kind of planned this, as E has artistic ambitions, and L is a working artist. She picked us up late morning, and we took what turned out to be the scenic route to Falkirk, to visit the Kelpies and then have lunch up at the Falkirk Wheel. Man those Kelpies are photogenic, it proved impossible to take a bad photo, and they are MASSIVE!

As we were driving between the two sites, I realised we’d be passing the Camelon crematorium, and although my mother lived in Northumberland, she’d asked for her ashes to be taken to where my father’s were placed in Camelon. That exercise had proved incredibly easy at the time, and the spot was very easy to locate, with help from the staff, who even opened up the plot to place mum’s ashes in. Visiting graves is not necessarily something I approve of, I thing the best memorial is in the hearts of the people who knew that person, so I’ve not made an effort to visit since, but here we were passing, and here was a chance to pass on that location to the youngest people at my mother’s funeral.

And then, L took us through the town, and on up to Brightons, above Polmont, which is where we spent our childhood. The house looks so small, but really, it housed six of us, plus at one point, my paternal grandmother, though I hardly remember her. We posed for a few photos, and sent some on to the girls parents.

Living there, in that house on that road, seems so long ago, which of course it was, it’s over 40 years since we left. The house is the same, the street is very similar, but the open spaces we played in nearby are long built over, though the big park up the road is even better than ever, lovely landscaping under the mature trees that I remember as bramble- and rubbish-filled. But it was a good place to grow up.

Finally, L took us to her home to see the paintings that were about to leave for her latest exhibition, which will preview this weekend, and is in Alnmouth, which is where my mother spent her last 25 years, having lived there in her youth too.

The girls just remember visiting, and would love to go back one day. As it happens, I renewed some connections in advance of the exhibition, and will meet up with one of my mum’s neighbours this weekend at the event. Who knows, maybe a day trip there next year?

I’d intended to spend my last evening with the girls at the cinema, and actually, we did! But there was a problem with the film, or rather no digital key to unlock it, so we got a full refund, some complementary tickets, and took ourselves to the Filmhouse instead, where there was nothing suitable screening either, so we just bought a Pedro Almodovar dvd instead. Kept quiet about that one, it was a 15 and probably not suitable for E, but it was an amusing if rather dark comedy about revenge, and we enjoyed it! When pushed, we simply said we’d watched Blancanieves, which we’d actually watched the night before…

On the last day, while I tidied up, the girls went off on a trawl of the local charity shops. There wasn’t anything that took their fancy so we left earlier than planned for the station, and popped into Bon Papillon for one of Stuart’s fantastic bacon rolls. Oh how I’ve missed those bacon rolls, our knit group only meets there once a month now, and I’ve missed the last two, and will miss the next one too! E had specifically requested a visit, as there is always a box off offcuts of mounting board, which she loves to draw on.

And then they were gone… and the house was peaceful and calm again, and I miss them already! But I shall see them in September, when we have a few days alone together in London, when their parents take a wee break.

Happy times, Part One

Published July 14, 2015 by Jackie

Last week, my nieces came up to Edinburgh for their now-annual visit. This is their third summer here, as their parents decided that they make more complicated journeys to school daily, and they could be trusted to travel between Kings Cross and Edinburgh unsupervised.

It’s a delight to have them stay, even though I have a tiny flat and we end up like sardines in my bedroom ~ seriously, if I push my double bed into the corner there is just enough space for an inflatable single mattress for E ~ but no room to put your feet, so all access is via the bottom of the bed. Ines shares the bed with me, though we each have our own duvet (and blanket, in I’s case)

I’d been knitting a promised snuggle sweater for E, and although I’d not sewn in any ends, it was hanging on the door. Squeals of delight when she saw it, but that girl will not stop growing, she’s 13 and 5’8″ and a bit bigger build than her sister, (Even since early June, I think she’s grown!) so I was glad I’d not sewn in any ends, as the sleeves were too short by a good 3 inches, and early next morning, before anyone else was up, I crept out of bed, made some coffee, and proceeded to add around 20-25 rows to the bottom of the sleeves. Thank goodness for top-down construction. Once it was finished, E wore that sweater non-stop! Even in July, but I suppose it is Scotland, and they’d had 36C in London the week before.

We did all the touristy things the first year they visited, and now they are a bit more interested in exhibitions and the like, tho E would love to go back to the Edinburgh Dungeon (yeah, really!) But bookshops, galleries and cake are on their agenda, maybe a bit of shopping?

They arrived just in time to visit the local market, so we popped out, got some food, some nice bread, tapenade, and for afters, marshmallows from our local artisan marshmallow maker. Actually they were very good and still had some marshmallows to take back to London at the end of the week.

On Monday, after a slow start to the day, we finally managed to leave the house after lunch, and I decided it would be quicker, and cheaper, for us to take a taxi up to Modern One and Two. This summer there is an MC Escher exhibition at Modern Two, and it’s well worth the entry fee. There are four large dedicated rooms upstairs, and this is the first dedicated Escher exhibition in the UK. Lots of familiar pieces, and a great insight into his life and work. Before we moved over to the other gallery, the girls had a lot of fun rushing around the wooden maze in front of Modern Two ~ a reminder that they are not quite grown-ups yet!

Across the road in Modern One, they have 3 rooms of fantastic HUGE Lichtenstein paintings, one room is filled with works inspired by other artists, such as Monet and Picasso, and then there’s the familiar piece in the National Galleries collection, but particularly interesting is the case of letters and newspaper articles from the time of the purchase.

We walked home down the Water of Leith to Stockbridge. It’s only a mile or so, but it took about an hour to walk, partly down to my requests to stop for a rest every so often, ie whenever we found somewhere to sit, so under the Dean Bridge, and just above Stockbridge. There’s always plenty for us to talk about as we rest!

On Tuesday, we had another late start, and this time headed over to Peter’s Yard for another late lunch, just filled rolls, no, not just filled rolls, really really good filled rolls! We each had something different, and had a taste of each other’s choice. All three were really yummy!

Then hopped on a bus to the Museum in Chambers St, where we went on a search for the Pringle exhibition. It’s in the new building, not the old, if you are looking, and be warned, the access between buildings is only possible from the ground floor. First, we had a look at the wonderful Large Tree Group tapestry by Dovecot Studios.

I don’t think they had seen the original exhibition a few years earlier in Dovecot, and I really wanted them to see it, and to explain about all the undyed yarn in different natural colours, the collective effort of farmers, spinners and weavers. And how many other 15-yr olds do you know who would spot the Dovecot logo in the bottom corner almost immediately? A Must-See!

But the Pringle exhibition was well worth it too! Beautiful sweaters, a fantastic video installation of Michael Clark’s dance company performing in Pringle knitwear too. Lovely back-stories about the catwalk and collection models, the latter of whom were usually girls from the Borders factory.

E fell for one of the sweaters on display, a cabled tunic, could I make that for her? Well yes, easily, we’d looked at a very similar pattern the evening before, and her sister had said she didn’t like it, so no fighting over that one!

Ines takes her time with exhibitions, she reads every word that has been put up with the exhibits, but her sister flies round, absorbing ideas and images. So we had a few minutes together outside the exhibition while we waited for Ines.

I have to tell you, dear reader, that on Monday, E had asked me to show her how to knit again. I think I tried when she was around 8, but they both lacked patience then. And we know you need patience to knit! I found some thick needles, and a ball of thick, nubbly wool. Possibly Malabrigo, I think it came from one of our destash parties, but it was wound into a ball, and ready to go.

Her knitting in her handbag, E found a little niche in the museum and proceeded to get her knitting out, with me around to explain her mistakes, and how to correct them. Having started on Sunday evening, by the time Tuesday bedtime came around, she had knit the entire ball, and she been shown how to cast off, and finished that herself.

eleanorknits1

What else could she knit, please? I found the left-over yarn from her and her sister’s snuggle sweaters, and a pair of short bamboo needles, thinner but not too thin. And we cast on an easy number to remember. Each row, stop and count your stitches at the end, there should be 25, how many are there now? More or less than the previous row? And then suddenly, she’d got it! And she’s off!!

eleanorknits2

Back to Tuesday, having taken them to Blackwells and the smaller Waterstones in previous years, this year was the turn of Looking Glass Books, in the Quartermile… well of course, it’s half bookshop, half cafe, and on our way to whichever cinema we decide to go see Mr Holmes at. I was delighted to treat them, not just to cake, but to a classic each. LGB has beautiful embossed editions of the classics, and it was a case of deciding which title to buy. Ines has a copy of Pride & Prejudice, but there was a lovely copy of Sense & Sensibility, and Eleanor decided on Alice and Through the Looking Glass.

From there, and after cake, we hopped over with our day-tickets to the Filmhouse to watch Mr Holmes, which was billed as English and Japanese with English subtitles. But very strangely, the entire movie was subtitled. Perhaps it was intentional, perhaps we’d stumbled on the one screening with subtitles? Ian McKellen was superb though, moving from playing his own age to playing a 93 yr old Sherlock Holmes with ease. Both girls love Sherlock, so were saving the movie to watch with me, and they loved it too.

No cooking that night, we dropped by to pick up baked potatoes in Stockbridge, and ate those while watching Juliet Binoche and Johnny Depp in Chocolat, which they loved too! And Eleanor continued in her knitting practice!

Enough already, more on the rest of the visit tomorrow….

June is over

Published June 30, 2015 by Jackie

Well today is the last day of June, and that’s the year half-done. My birthday is 2 weeks past, another year older another year wiser? Maybe not… The best compliment I got this year was that I neither look nor act my age, so that’s a relief. I’ve proved that my hair isn’t actually as grey as I thought it might be, after several years of hard-core colour is finally grown and cut out. And I’ve started a new beauty routine at night, proving you’re never too old to change the habits of a lifetime! While it’s hard to tell if this routine has changed my face, one thing is for sure, my elbows have never been softer, from the excess night cream rubbed there!

I’ve given in to an increase in my diabetes medication, though I am still taking half the dose my doctor recommends ~ I did this slowly and watched for side effects, and one day realised that my vision was better on the day I took a tablet twice a day instead of just one.

Good news is my blood-sugar readings have been falling each week, from 14.8 to 11 to 10.4 to 9.3 to 7.4 this morning! (aiming for 5!) That last reading is despite missing some of my meds due to the fact I was rattling from so many pills for a summer cold, or rather the headache the congestion had caused…

~~~~ that’s my life progress, but what about my crafts ~~~~

I didn’t do an awful lot of knitting with a headache, but I did get my lovely Arrowhead cardigan finished, and am very pleased with it. It needs a steam block with an iron, and some kind of fastener to close it at the neck (I’m thinking a metal toggle of the kind used in jewellery, I have a few sets to choose from). The cardigan is just a wee bit shorter than I’d have liked, it sits on the top of my hip, but the sleeves are longer than the pattern suggested, so it’s a decent balance. I was pretty good at judging when to start the edge and how much yarn I’d need to add a stretchy cast-off ~ only 2+ metres of yarn left from two full skeins of Wollmeise Blend.

It’s put me in mind to knit more simple lace, more on that later.

I also finished Eleanor’s snuggle jumper yesterday. It’s a bit of a mish-mash, I used every inch of 8 balls of Limestone Twilley’s for the garter body, and three of Coal for the sleeves and bottom rib, along with one ball of Flint for the neck. I won’t sew in ends until she’s tried it on, hope it fits, I think it will, and that she likes it, but it’s a jumper to wear around the house over PJs, to snuggle in, so I think she’ll okay it. That’s 12 balls to deduct from stash!

I’ve been sensible and deleted a couple of recent projects from my page that weren’t likely to happen any time soon ~ one a toy, feel bad, just I’m not a natural with toys, and one a wrap, pending, not started, feel no guilt there, except about buying the pattern.

Being not very sensible (1) and bought “artisan-roasted” yarn from Old Maiden Aunt ~ her description not mine ~ she had a small fire in a dye-pot left on the burner, lots of smoke damage to stock, nothing serious, no-one hurt except a few bank-balances buying said smoke-damaged stock at a reduced price ~ of course it was easier if we each wash our purchases than if Lilith had to re-wash the entire stock on the shelves. We’re very accommodating that way, us knitters! (ahem did I mention I went back for another purchase, well I couldn’t leave it there on the shelf for Lilith to wash!)

Being not very sensible (2) and put a birthday wish out for ‘clown-barf’ Wollmeise colours, and one wish being granted, a skein of Martha has landed from Finland. Of course this kind of birthday wish involves handing over money… We’re very accommodating that way, us knitters!

Being not entirely sensible (3) and buying a pattern for a triangular shawl when you’ve vowed you’ve knit a life-time of triangular shawls, but this one is the very singular Mahy from dear Karie Westermann ~ and I have the very yarn for it in my stash ~ if I’m honest, I pretty much have the yarn for anything in my stash!

Casting on? I’ve only cast on one thing this week, and that was another freebie pattern, this time an Artesano pattern called Paloma. Short-sleeved top, with a garter yoke and stocking stitch body.

There was a skein of dark Im Dunklen Wald in Pure Wollmeise just hanging around, already wound up, I think I found it in a box one day a while ago, and left it out to inspire me. Lots of black and bright greens, I shall pair it with Schwartz (black) for the body. If it works for my body, it might be the perfect pattern to use up variegated and matching skeins of Wollmeise.

I’m thinking Die Auster and Aquarius, Mauerbluemchen and Ballerina (or another purple) and one of those mad multicolours, like Martha, with Ooohm or Koralle. Just noting down ideas, folks!